These days, it's easy to avoid the clunky plastic devices that used to come standard with medical alert systems. Now plenty of medical alert watches combine the right safety features with functionality and style.
Whether you prefer an analog or digital clock display, compare our top picks below on price, emergency call functions, health-tracking features and verified customer reviews.
What are the best medical alert watches?
We started with a list of 23 medical alert companies. To narrow it down, we eliminated ones without any verified customer reviews on our site and those with an overall satisfaction rating below 4.5 stars, leaving 12. To make the final selections, the ConsumerAffairs research team then compared available products from each remaining company. Below, compare our favorite medical alert watches from top-rated companies.
Our top pick overall
*As of publishing date
Freedom Guardian is a medical alert smartwatch backed by Medical Guardian’s highly rated monitoring center. Each watch comes with 24/7 monitoring, a silicone watchband, a magnetic charging cable and the company's companion mobile app. Its battery lasts up to 48 hours per charge. Users can press and hold the multifunction side button for three seconds to request emergency assistance or use the help button on the touch screen.
The companion mobile app allows your caretaker and loved ones to view your location and alert history, directly message you and add events and reminders to your day planner. The Freedom Guardian comes in black or white.
Our pick for smart medical alert watch
*As of publishing date
Bay Alarm Medical SOS Smartwatch comes with 24-hour monitoring and GPS tracking. When you hold down the SOS button, you can speak directly to emergency dispatchers through built-in two-way communication.
We like that this smartwatch works even if you don’t have a smartphone. The battery lasts up to 24 hours. There’s no fall detection — Bay Alarm claims that the technology isn't accurate enough on wrist-worn devices. New customers can try the SOS Smartwatch risk-free for 30 days.
Our pick for value
*As of publishing date
The Lively Wearable2 is a sleek way to feel safe. Just make sure you use a device with at least Android 7.0 or iOS 11. We like that you can manage your GreatCall Link followers and get advice from doctors and nurses through the Lively app. Plus, all customer service is based in the United States.
The battery lasts up to four months at a time. The watch is water-resistant and comes with a step tracker, daily health tips and an optional lanyard. Urgent Response, available 24/7, comes standard with all three plans. For an extra monthly cost, you can add fall detection.
Our pick for design
*As of publishing date
The BlueStar BellPal is one of the most fashionable and versatile medical alert watches we’ve seen. It comes in seven designs, with leather, stainless steel or mesh straps. Safety features include fall detection and 24-hour professional monitoring service.
Despite its vintage-inspired design, the watch contains an AI engine and Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone. We also like that it’s water-resistant and user-friendly. The watch doesn’t require charging; instead, you just need to get the battery replaced every three to six months. BlueStar offers free shipping plus a 30-day money-back guarantee.
What to consider when shopping for a medical alert watch
When searching for a medical alert watch for seniors, there are a few things you need to think about:
- Cost: Many medical alert watches include some combination of an initial equipment fee and a monthly monitoring cost, but some only require one or the other. Medical Alert’s MobileElite, for example, does not require any initial payment for the watch but has a monthly monitoring fee.
- Features: Buying a medical alert watch from a company with a monitoring center ensures you're connected to a professional who can dispatch emergency services. Many medical alert smartwatches also come with health-tracking features, such as a heart rate tracker or step counter. Others come with caregiver features that allow your loved ones to check on your location and health. People with mobility issues are likely to benefit from fall detection watches that send out alerts when the user falls and can't call for help themselves.
- Complexity: Medical wristwatches, especially smartwatches, have multiple useful features. These devices can be complicated, however, which keeps many seniors from using the full functionality of their alert system. In this case, a simpler watch might be more helpful.
- Your activity level: Active seniors should consider the battery life of the watch and whether it's waterproof. A waterproof medical alert watch with a long-lasting battery ensures that you can call for help when you need it most.
Medical alert watch FAQ
- How do medical alert watches work?
- Medical alert watches work by connecting the user to a monitoring center that can dispatch emergency services when the user presses a button or falls (if the watch has automatic fall detection). Some watches may contact a predetermined contact or 911 directly.
- Monitored medical alert watches contact an agent in a monitoring center who determines your needs and contacts emergency services if necessary.
- Unmonitored medical alert watches call a predetermined contact or 911 directly.
For exact details on how each medical alert watch works, it’s best to speak with the company.
- What’s the difference between medical alert watches and mobile systems?
- Medical alert watches are a type of mobile medical alert system. These devices are discreet and often offer more than just GPS tracking. Typical mobile systems include a portable base system that you must carry, but they have a simplified design and don't require a cell phone.
- Can an Apple Watch be used for medical alerts?
- The Apple Watch Series 4 and later models can automatically detect a fall and ask if you want to contact emergency services. Nevertheless, we recommend choosing a product from a medical alert company that offers dedicated products and 24/7 monitoring services from trained representatives who can assess your needs and stay on a call with you until help arrives.
- Are medical alert watches waterproof?
- All of the medical alert watches we’ve recommended are water-resistant, but they are not waterproof. This means they can withstand water to some extent. It’s best to ask the medical alert company for details about whether you can take the watch into the shower or swim with it.
- Do medical alert watches require an activation fee?
- Sometimes. Most of the watches we’ve listed have no activation fees. Other medical alert watches do require one. Be sure to check with the company about all fees before choosing a product.
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